Accelerating the green transition, together
All Nordic Countries have clear and ambitious plans for a greener future. A brave attitude is needed to invest in scaling up green technology and solutions.
We celebrated our 30 years of green financing experience with change agents and forerunners, who are ready to take risks and direct actions for a greener future on 18 March in the online event ‘Ready to risk for green’.
“Can environmentally friendly businesses be profitable?”
This question Paula Lehtomäki, Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, were often asked some 15 years ago when acting as Minister. “Now we know the only way businesses can exist is by being sustainable. Green and inclusive transition touches every sphere of the society. We need initiatives for change that are scaled up and make a difference”, she continued in her opening speech at Nefco’s 30th Anniversary online event.
This was also confirmed by the other speakers at the event. According to Associate Professor Per Espen Stoknes, we do not need to stop economic growth, but rather give it a new direction, reshape it into something healthier with the help of the green growth compass. Resource wastefulness should be converted into resource productivity instead in order to go from grey to green growth.
Thomas Verheye, Principal Advisor at the EU Commission, sees the natural capital accounting as a game changer. “We need to look at things in a much more holistic way”, he says and emphasises the need to act on the internal management side to really understand the total footprint of the business.
Should we be ten times bolder?
Yes, that’s the answer. “We should really look at our mindset”, reminded Halla Tómasdóttir from the B Team. “It is important to move away from know-it-all to learn-it-all. I believe there is a leader inside every single one of us.” So if we want to change the world, tackling climate and biodiversity crises as well as inequality, we must start resetting the system at home but also engage in radical collaboration between the private sector, government and civil society.
Collaboration was also emphasised by the guest speakers representing some of the numerous Nordic SMEs looking for green business opportunities. Private-public partnerships and financing models are important for these businesses when they are seeking growth on international markets.
“20% of the large companies were SMEs only three years ago. SMEs are the backbone of the economy”, Peter Thagesen from the Confederation of Danish Industry reminded. “One important factor, when these companies are going international, is strengthening the access to capital.”
Both Hannu Savisalo from Valoe Oyj and Alexander Helling from Baseload Capital agreed on the need for proper financing. “It is important to understand what financing instruments there are available and which ones would suit your business the best”, Alexander pointed out.
“Entrepreneurs sees the opportunities, not the risks”, Hannu said with 40 years experience.
That’s where also Nefco steps in, “to take a financial risk when there is a green upside”, as Managing Director Trond Moe said when presenting Nefco’s strategy for the next five years, in which the initial scale-up of Nordic SMEs plays a big role.
Or as Alexander Helling said: “Jump on the train and go green, otherwise you will miss the opportunities!”
Want to hear more? Watch the recorded streaming!
You can also look at some of the presentation material:
- Per Espen Stoknes – Taking the pulse on the green transformation: Healthy or Manic?
- Thomas Verheye – EU Green Deal and mobilisation of green financing
- Trond Moe – Accelerating the green transition – the Nordic Green Bank with 30 years of experience now looking forward
There are also more stories of Nordic SMEs going global: Watch the videos
Other topics of interest: